Ranji Trophy 2016-17: Varun Aaron’s need for speed

Varun Aaron, capable of bowling at speeds over 145 kmph, says he will not compromise on pace despite recurring back injuries.

Written by Nihal Koshie | New Delhi | Updated: October 10, 2016 9:03 am
ranjo trophy 2016, ranji trophy, varun aaron, jharkhand, aaron, aaron injury, jharkhand vs maharashtra, cricket news, sports news Varun Aaron returned match figures of 6/80 as Jharkhand beat Maharashtra. (File Photo)

A couple of times while bowling on Day One during Maharastra’s first innings, Jharkhand strike bowler and captain Varun Aaron was in discomfort. At one point he lay down on the pitch and grimaced in discomfort. For a fast bowler like Aaron, a rare breed in this country, even the twitch of a muscle can upset rhythm or worse can mean even a few weeks on the sidelines.

Fortunately, Aaron was experiencing only a bout of cramps brought on by the humidity in Delhi.

After touring with the India ‘A’ team in the cooler climes of Australia, the change in weather had caused the temporary spasm. The Ranji Trophy opener went according to plan for Aaron and his team. He finished with match figures of 6 for 80 in 30 overs, while Jharkhand won the Group B match by six wickets before lunch on the fourth day. Aaron, capable of bowling at speeds over 145 kmph, will be hurrying up the batsman this domestic season. The Ranji Trophy matches will also give him an opportunity to put his body through the grind.

“I just want to play a whole season and let my body go through all the rigours because I have always been on and off in the domestic season. I have been playing for the Indian team and in between would play a match or two for Jharkhand. But getting an eight match run will put a different set of demands on the body. Three years ago, I would take a break in between matches, but I am at a stage now where I want to play as many matches as I can. What will hold me in good stead when I get back to the Indian team is playing matches instead of putting all those hours in training. That (training) is what I do whether I am playing or not,” Aaron said at the end of the game at the Karnail Singh Stadium on Sunday.

Aaron has gone through seven stress fractures, the first dating back to 2008, and had to undergo a surgery to set a vertebra right. Yet he is now bowling all out without the fear of getting injured.

“Stress fractures usually occur till the age of 24 to 25. That is when your bones are developing. That was the only thing that was bothering me. Now as I have passed that stage there is no fear of that injury coming back. So it is not at the back of my mind when I am bowling,” Aaron said.

One of the tougher phases for the 26-year-old was the pre-surgery phase. He had injured the same bone – L5 vertebrae – on three occasions and finally had to go under the knife three seasons ago. It put him out of action for over a year – pre-surgery and post-surgery phase. “I was almost having back to back injuries every year. I was really quite low (before the surgery) but I realised that if I could return after injury in the past then there is no reason I can’t after the surgery. I had lot of self-belief that I could come back and bowl the same way.”

He has also learnt to manage his body better over the years. “I feel that I have worked out a good training schedule now and it makes things easier.” One of the lasting images of how effective the young fast bowler can be on his day was when he set-up England batsman Moeen Ali with a bouncer before bowling him with a full ball delivered at some pace at Manchester during the Test series in 2014. That delivery was clocked at 138 kmph but Aaron has touched speeds of 153.4.

He promises not to compromise on pace unlike a number of bowlers who have cut down on speed in search of accuracy.

“I don’t see myself cutting down on pace. If I haven’t done it till now, I don’t see myself doing that in the future. I believe that pace is a gift and not everybody gets. It is not something you can acquire. You are born with it and if you are born with it you might as well do full justice to it till you are playing. The conditions don’t matter to me nor is it (Indian pitches) a deterrent as I can bowl fast.”

Brief Scores: Maharashtra 210 and 188 lost to Jharkhand 306 & 93/4 (Virat Singh 33 no, Anand Singh 25) by 6 wickets.

Points: Jharkhand 6; Maharashtra 0.